à commencer par

  • sofff

    Senior Member
    I would not say "à commencer part" it doesn't souds very good to me, I prefer "en commançant par"


    Senior Member
    Thanks SwissPete.

    Having looked further into the sentence I want to translate: La reconstitution des profits a degagé des disponibilités financières alors que l'endettement croissant des Etats (à commencer par les Etats-Unis) faisait monter les taux de crédit.

    I now understand the à commencer par... to be (which started in the United States/which was started by the U.S). Would I be right in thinking this?


    Senior Member
    yes you are right,
    I would say that "à commencer par" can also be understood as:
    US is one of the greatest examples of state debt...
    but your first idea is good


    Senior Member
    sofff I also thought of with the United States at the top of the list which is I think similar to your suggestion above. So what does it actually mean- that the US started of state debt or what you've suggested or both as it's ambiguous?


    I would say that in this case, à commencer par doesn't mean the US started anything, but is at the top of the list.


    Senior Member
    French (France)
    à commencer par- could I interpret that as commençant par or don't you say that?
    There are 3 different expressions quoted here.
    commançant par is used when spelling a name or maybe an amount of money.
    ---> Je recherche un homme qui s'appelle Barack, avec un nom de famille commençant par un O.

    à commencer par is used when making a list of items/countries/people, etc. and emphasizes the first one or the main one.
    ---> Je ne sais pas comment je vais disposer les meubles dans le nouvel appartement, à commencer par le canapé.

    En commençant par and à commencer par can be interchangeable in most context I think, but:

    En commençant par describes the beginning of a journey or a task.
    --> En commençant par Paris, nous allons visiter les 10 plus grandes villes de France.
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